Monthly Archives: July 2013

Book Cover Photo Shoot

My biggest update at the moment is that the photo shoot for the cover of Cultivating Self-Love was perfection itself! We had sunny skies, found some lovely gardens, and got excellent results. BlackLion’s Mom is an amazing photographer, and she not only understood my vision for the cover, but improved on it with her creative artist’s eye. I can’t share the final pictures just yet, but here’s a shot she took of “the crew” after we were done.

book cover photo shoot

On the left is our model, my teenage daughter. I’m in the middle, taking notes. And BlackLion, my partner and book editor, looks on. His Mom prefers to stay behind the camera, so there aren’t any pictures of her. We had fun, sharing lots of laughs during our session, and I treated everyone to an ice cream cone after we were done.

In other news, plans are going along smoothly for the September author event. I’m writing some new author bios using Kristen Lamb’s methods. All I have left to do for the e-book is to write the acknowledgements, finish my author bio, and do a final edit. I’ll give a more comprehensive update on Sunday. Enjoy the rest of the week, fellow writers!

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Sideways Progress

I’ve been making progress towards my goals, or at least towards my overall intention to be a successful author. The reason I say “sideways” is that most of what I’ve been up to is somewhat ephemeral, not as easily quantified as solid things like word counts. I’m feeling good about it, rather imaginative, creative, and productive. I guess the realm I’m in, though, is one of dreaming up new ideas, connecting with myself and others, and perhaps drifting a bit, in a good way.

Let’s see if I can make any sense of it in terms of goals.

  • finished the Resources section for Cultivating Self-Love
  • had to reschedule the CSL cover photo shoot due to rain; hopefully we’ll have sun this week for it
  • finished reading the awesome Kristen Lamb’s Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World
  • implemented some of her ideas – I started with writing my “word cloud” and plan to use it to make bios of various lengths, this week
  • blogging is going according to schedule, and I also used Lamb’s “high concept” idea with success on my Starcat’s Corner blog this week (here’s the post I’m referring to)
  • wrote two book reviews and posted them
  • read and commented on a bunch of blog posts by my ROW80 colleagues, learning useful new things in the process
  • made progress in our Rethinking Everything adventure fundraising
  • spent time outdoors doing journal writing, swimming, and enjoying the beach with friends

I admit it, I haven’t added any new words to my Daily Spiritual Practice e-book at all. I just haven’t felt inspired to work on it. Hopefully I’ll find my focus and get back to this WIP soon.

What I have done, the stuff that has me feeling creative and joyful as the weekend draws to a close, is to connect more deeply with my inner source, remember and work with my dreams, make new connections with fellow writers, daydream, explore various images in my mind’s eye, and do some playful research on topics that are catching my attention.

I’ve also made the decision that yes, I will in fact delve into the realm of fiction writing. I’m gearing up to participate in NaNoWriMo in November for the first time! Thrilling and scary!

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The Other Stuff

I didn’t get much writing done this week. None on my current WIP, truth be told. But there is a lot of “other stuff” that goes along with a writing career, and I’ve been moving steadily forward on those things. And of course there’s the “other stuff” of life, that doesn’t directly affect my writing, except providing inspiration (the plus side) and eating up time I could have spent writing (the down side). Ah well. I think it all balances out in the end.

I’m also very thankful that the Mercury retrograde has released its grip on us. It seemed to me to be an especially powerful one, with lots of weird stuff going on, not just for me but for lots of friends and relatives.

Here are the highlights of the week, in terms of my goals for this round:

  • resources section for Cultivating Self-Love e-book is nearly complete
  • set up a photo shoot for the e-book cover for this week
  • met my blogging goals
  • continued to read the new Kristen Lamb book
  • had a productive and inspiring meeting about the September author event
  • continued to receive contributions toward our Rethinking Everything adventure fund
  • wrote, swam, drummed, walked, and spent some lovely time outside in nature

This coming week, I resolve to get back to a more regular schedule of writing, and wrap up the loose ends of my e-book, Cultivating Self-Love, so we can release it into the world. May your writing week be productive and fun!

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Gradual Progress

I had a very busy and intense weekend, and as a result have been lagging a bit this week. Still, I’m making gradual progress towards my goals. I’ve been working on the Resources section for my Cultivating Self-Love e-book, and I’m nearly done with it. After that, I just need to do an “about the author” bio and to finish setting up the photo shoot for the cover. BlackLion and I are thinking of releasing the e-book on August 1st, which is very exciting!

Haven’t done any new writing on the other e-book this week, though I have been writing blog posts. I have a meeting today with my author friend, to do some brainstorming and planning for our book signing and reading event in September. I’m about two-thirds of the way through reading Kristen Lamb’s book, which is going to prove very useful to me in the area of book promotion. Our fundraising for our trip is going along steadily, though I feel like we should have already purchased our airline tickets by now. I’m not going to fret, though.

I’ve been swimming a lot, and enjoying the time spent outside. It’s so restorative. And I know it’s unusual, but I really love the heat wave. Hot summer weather is my favorite. Warmth is good!

Hope you’re having a productive week and also treating yourself to some summer fun.



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Some Work and Some Play

Some work this week, and some play. I enjoy when the two overlap. As I reported on Wednesday, I’m very excited about setting up a book signing and reading in cooperation with a local author friend. That was the highlight of my work week! I also wrote a total of 3,856 words on the Daily Spiritual Practice e-book, blogged a lot (meeting my goals), and did some fundraising for our upcoming adventure.

100_8805This weekend we had our annual Big Backyard Bash. Here I am in my hippie party garb! I blogged about our exciting day on my Starcat’s Corner website. I’m keeping this update short, as I’m tired from the bash, and I have a performance tonight with Dark Follies. It’s time to go get some rest!

Blessings on all your writing projects and other adventures!

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Self-Discipline: Boon or Bane?

Most of the advice given to aspiring authors includes, in one form or another, the encouragement to be self-disciplined. This ranges from a polite urging to show up at your desk each day to admonishments to sit down and “make” yourself write for a certain length of time, no matter how much you’re resisting or how uninspired you feel.

I’ve always been the type of person who rebels at any imposed discipline, especially in connection with my creativity. I want to create when my inner spirit moves me, to follow the siren song of the muses when they call.

The only trouble with that scenario is how quickly other things in life move into that space. The dishes: there are always more. The laundry: its never done. Facebook: the newsfeed is endless. Life is full of a myriad of options of things to occupy my time.

Despite calling myself a writer, for a long time I didn’t really write all that often.

In the realm of my spirituality, I discovered many years ago that the benefits of having a regular practice far outweigh the need to make it an unmoving part of my daily schedule. In recent years, I’ve applied this notion to my writing life as well. How do I get better at writing? Write more often. How do I complete all these great projects floating around in my imagination? Write consistently. How do I find the time to write? Create it. Make it happen. Daily. Okay, okay, I get it.

Writing Space

My most recent writing space, in the corner of the dining room.

Despite being a lifelong night owl, I’ve found that my best writing happens in the morning. No way, not early morning. I’m talking about a 9:30 or 10am start, sometimes 11am. The house is quiet. I haven’t yet opened up my e-mail account or social media pages. I’ve emerged from the dream realm enough to make sense, but am still connected enough to let my inspiration flow. And it’s fun!

I’ve learned to associate self-discipline with gentle encouragement, rather than harsh absolutes. I sit down to do my writing. If I can’t come up with anything to say, I feel crappy, or I’m struggling with resistance, I stop. I go find something else to do, for a while or maybe even for the whole day. I don’t feel guilty. I want my creativity to be a source of joy, not pain and suffering. It’s a gift, one that deserves appreciation and kindness. There’s no need to give myself a hard time about it. I know that the next morning, I’ll sit down again at the blank page and see what emerges.

What about you? Do you have a writing routine? Do you resist self-discipline, or embrace it? I’d love to hear about your methods and ideas.


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A Huge Check-Mark!

I’m really excited, because I’ve broken through a blockage and achieved a wonderful check-mark on one of my goals! For some reason, since my book came out this winter I’ve had trouble with setting up a book signing and reading. Here’s the story.

At first I was reluctant to reach out and contact local bookstores about an event. I’m not sure why. When I did, they either didn’t reply or were discouraging about their participation. One bookstore wanted me to supply the books, so they wouldn’t have to take a risk on a first-time author. But that would have been in violation with my contract, as it would unfairly bypass my publisher. So that was a no-go.

I reached out to the other authors on my publisher’s author Facebook page, to see what they did. A few folks had good results doing a signing at a local cafe. This way, since they are not a bookstore, the author is allowed to supply the books. The cafe gets additional customers purchasing food and drink. It sounded great, and I thought of the perfect place, a local sustainable-food co-op cafe. They were initially receptive, although they said evening events hadn’t worked well because some patrons are just there to have dinner and chat, so their attention wasn’t on the reading. I understood that, and suggested a weekend afternoon. After some time passed, the event manager replied to say they were all booked up, but they’d had success with a signing on a Monday afternoon, so that’s what they offered me. I wasn’t thrilled about doing it during the week, when most folks are at work, so I let it drop.

A few months ago, BlackLion and I had made the acquaintance of a local Pagan author, and he said she mentioned she worked at a local bookstore. I hadn’t wanted to presume on a new acquaintance at first, but yesterday I decided to ask if she had any insight into setting up a signing with them, or at least getting them to reply to me. She wrote back to say that he misheard her, she didn’t work there but had been trying to set up her own book signing. She hadn’t had any luck, either.

We started chatting, and the outcome is that we’re joining forces to have a double author event in September! I’m thrilled! I’m reading her book right now, and it’s excellent. Hers is fiction and mine is non-fiction, but both are Pagan or Pagan-inspired, so it’s a good fit. We’ve rented a venue, which is very affordable since we’re splitting the cost, and we’ll provide the snacks and drinks ourselves. We also have some cool ideas for making the event fun for attendees, and for promoting it, and we’re meeting next week to brainstorm.

Blockage blasted through! Goal check-marked! The crowd goes wild! I think perhaps I was meant to collaborate on this project all along! Interestingly, that supposition was confirmed when I had an astrology reading last night from a dear friend of mine. He said that the influences in my 7th house (which is all about partnerships) are urging me to find new allies, ones who will help me with my life’s main purposes. Score!

So, here’s the rundown from this week. I’m really happy with my progress. Woo hoo!

Writing and Editing

Write 5,000 words per week on the Daily Spiritual Practice e-book. This is a project that I’d started a couple of years ago and set aside. I already have a working outline. I’m enjoying my regular writing sessions and want to keep the flow going, so I’m picking this WIP up again.  In progress. I’ve written 2804 words so far this week.

Finish all edits, appendices, and revisions of the Cultivating Self-Love e-book and give it to BlackLion for formatting. BlackLion has started on the formatting. I’m working on the Resources section in a separate document. Well underway!

Create a wonderful cover for Cultivating Self-Love. Haven’t set up a date for the photo shoot yet.

Post to my Starcat’s Corner blog at least 3 times per week, and on this blog at least 2 times per week. Achieved this week for SC. I didn’t post here on Sunday, but perhaps I’ll have something else to say this week, other than an update.

Write and edit at least 3 guest blog posts and have them posted. Nothing new here yet.


Practice inviting people to purchase our Feline Dreamers wares and my books. Do it with joy and from a place of feeling positive and confident. As part of this process, learn more about effective, ethical promotion techniques. I’m in research mode. I’m reading Kristen Lamb’s new book and loving it!

Set up and offer a successful local book signing and reading for Starcat’s Corner: Essays on Pagan Living. Achieved! It’s all set up! Well, I still have work to do to make it happen, but I’m feeling really good about it.

Learn to use Amazon’s indie author resources to promote and sell my Cultivating Self Love e-book. Signed up for Smashwords and Amazon’s KDP program.

Raise all the money we need for our Rethinking Everything adventure, and have a fun and successful journey there and back! (Curious? Check out this link to our fundraising page and this link to the conference website). Still working on it.

Wellness and Practice

Continue doing my two main daily practices: morning pages and affirmations in my journal (4 pages each day) and daily dancing (at least 20 minutes each day). Achieved.

Practice drumming at least 3 times per week, plus the weekly troupe practice. Not yet.

Add more yoga to my life. I’ve made a start. Did yoga once this week, after a session of dancing, and it felt wonderful.

Spend more time outdoors. Walk, hike, meditate, and swim. Relax and enjoy the lovely summer weather! Yes. Some walking, some lake swimming, and hanging out with family at camp.


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Getting Started

I’ve had a fairly slow start to round 3, but it’s a holiday week here, with a lot going on, so I’m cutting myself some slack. What did I do towards my goals?

  • a bit of editing on Cultivating Self-Love
  • some tinkering with the outline and existing text (I’d already written about 4,000 words, a year or so ago) for the Daily Spiritual Practice e-book
  • purchased Kristen Lamb’s new book, Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World, which by the way is fantastic, and started reading it as part of learning how to effectively market Starcat’s Corner: Essays on Pagan Living
  • did yoga yesterday! yay!
  • went for a swim in the lake
  • wrote a couple of blog posts
  • kept up with my daily journaling
  • did some dancing (though not every day, yet)

Now that I write it out as a list, seems like a pretty good start to the summer round. I’ll post a review of the Kristen Lamb book once I’ve finished devouring it. Have a wonderful (holiday) week!

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